Rohr’s Aide Explains Why the Super Eagles Missed Out on Saka, and Other Nigeria Eligible Players

Rohr’s Aide Explains Why the Super Eagles Missed Out on Saka, and Other Nigeria Eligible Players

Ero Samson
updated at May 7, 2024 at 3:59 PM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Bukayo Saka logo
Arsenal logoFEngland logo
Michael Olise logo
M. Olise
Crystal Palace logoMEngland logo
Eberechi Eze logo
E. Eze
Crystal Palace logoMEngland logo
Tammy Abraham logo
T. Abraham
AS Roma logoFEngland logo
Fikayo Tomori logo
F. Tomori
AC Milan logoDEngland logo
Gabriel Osho logo
G. Osho
Luton Town logoDEngland logo
Elijah Adebayo logo
E. Adebayo
Luton Town logoFEngland logo
  • The Super Eagles have, in recent years, missed out on a few Nigeria-eligible players
  • Arsenal forward, Bukayo Saka, and Crystal Palace star, Michael Olise, top the long list
  • An aide of an ex-Super Eagles coach has disclosed why Nigeria missed out on these players

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The Nigeria Football Federation's (NFF) efforts to persuade eligible players to represent the Super Eagles have yielded mixed results.

While some, including Luton Town's Gabriel Osho and Elijah Adebayo, have expressed eagerness to switch allegiance and play for Nigeria, others, including Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, have chosen differently.

In recent years, convincing top-tier players of Nigerian heritage to join the Super Eagles appears to have become more challenging.

Nigeria, Saka, NFF, Super Eagles, England, Arsenal, Michael Olise
Arsenal's Bukayo Saka is one of the numerous players who opted against playing for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Image: Marc Atkins/Joe Prior.
Source: Getty Images

However, amid this trend, an aide to former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has shed light on why Nigeria missed out on securing the services of certain marquee players who opted to represent European nations.

Rohr’s aide speaks on the Super Eagles

In an interview reported by OwnGoalNigeria, an aide to the Franco-German manager, who chose to remain anonymous, discussed why the Nigerian team missed out on several marquee players who could have played for the Super Eagles, especially those who opted for the English national team.

The aide emphasised the approach taken by former NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, suggesting that it influenced the players' decisions to reject Nigeria.

"I can tell you we used to have a better approach. We probably would have stood a good chance with Saka, Oliseh, Fikayo Tomori, and others, but Pinnick’s method was too autocratic.
They probably all saw how things went with [Tammy] Abraham and the media and became really careful with conversations involving switching allegiance. Pinnick shared images with Eze while negotiations were still ongoing, and it didn’t help us in any way.
It only put the player under pressure from his family, friends, the press, and agents," he concluded.

Since Pinnick's departure as president of the NFF in October 2022, it must be noted that there has been a noticeable decline in the number of players switching allegiance to the Super Eagles.

However, there are indications that this trend may soon pick up momentum again, according to swirling reports.

Finidi makes promises to critics

In another report, Sports Brief stated that Nigeria's coach, Finidi George, has issued a promise to his critics ahead of the June international window.

Nigeria is set to face South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of their quest to secure a place at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)